The MDA is keeping you informed about a new dental benefit plan from Delta Dental, RightSize Dental. The plan uses genetic testing and is described as a “new dental benefit plan developed using a risk-based prevention model.” The plan limits benefits for cleanings to one per year unless the patient is “at risk” for developing periodontal disease, using Delta Dental criteria. At the current time it is being offered to Delta Dental employees only. Dentists who participate with Delta Dental and have questions or concerns about how this plan impacts the care they provide should contact Delta directly.
Letter from Delta Dental
Delta had sent a letter to dentists on Nov. 27, 2013, describing a “new dental benefit plan developed using a risk-based prevention model.” At this time, the plan is available only to employees and dependents of the parent company of Delta Dental beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
Details of the Plan
On Dec. 12, 2013, the MDA sent a special email alert from MDA President Dr. Norm Palm to members with details of a new dental plan being offered by Delta Dental to its employees. This same information appeared in the January 2014 MDA Journal.
According to Delta Dental, the RightSize Dental plan is designed to “help predict and prevent periodontal disease by identifying those patients most at risk for periodontitis.” The new plan offers only one cleaning per year unless the patient has a history of periodontal disease or, according to Delta Dental criteria, is at sufficient risk of developing periodontal disease. Patients have the option to establish this risk by completing a voluntary on-line periodontitis risk assessment survey and/or an oral swab risk test.
The MDA has not yet taken an official position on the new dental benefit plan. The MDA Board of Trustees strongly believes that only a dentist has the purview to assess a patient’s risk for developing periodontal disease or other conditions, and that this assessment should occur within the context of a dentist-patient relationship with proper examination and diagnostic methods.
Analysis of the Plan
In February, the MDA published an analysis of the new plan, written by Dr. Chris Smiley, of Grand Rapids. Smiley is the MDA Journal dental benefits columnist and former chair of the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs.
Genetic Testing Seminar
The MDA will present a special half-day seminar, “Genetic Testing for Periodontitis: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” by Thomas Hart, DDS, PhD, on Friday, March 21 from 9 a.m. until noon at MDA headquarters in Okemos. Three continuing education credits are available. The cost to attend is $59 for member dentists and staff and $79 for nonmembers. Member dentists will be given preference, as space is limited.
FAQs for Dentists about the New Delta Dental Plan
Educate yourself on the details of the new RightSize Dental plan from Delta Dental including plan specifics, the science behind it, impact on patients, and more.
Communication Talking Points
Download easy to understand talking points that will allow you to quickly and effectively communicate with your patients.
Download an information brochure you can print and distribute to your patients. The brochure provides brief explanations on general dental plans, what the RightSize Dental plan is, and how the plan will impact a patient's oral health treatment options. The MDA will provide up to 12 free copies to members. Email Jackie Hammond with the quantity you need. NOTE: To produce the brochure yourself, print out side one and side two and use your copier's duplex function to print the separate pages onto one front-to-back page. Or, print out the first side on your computer printer in the quantity you need, then flip it over and feed it back through to print the second side.
NEW! ADA News Publishes Article on RightSize Dental Plan
On March 3 the ADA News published an article about the new Delta Dental RightSize Dental plan. The article details concerns over the exclusion of several known risk factors for periodontal disease, especially smoking. It also includes comments from Dr. Jed Jacobson, chief science officer and senior vice president for Delta Dental Plan of Michigan. To access the article, click on the link below.
NEW! Slavkin Addresses Genomics in JADA Article
The March 2014 Journal of the American Dental Association features a guest editorial by the well-known Dr. Harold C. Slavkin titled “Revising the Scope of Practice for Oral Health Professionals: Enter Genomics.” The discussion is directly applicable to Delta’s new RightSize Dental plan. Read more about the science of risk-based prevention models by clicking the link below.
Look to the MDA and ADA for More Information
In addition to the MDA, the American Dental Association is actively engaged in studying Delta Dental's newly announced RightSize Dental plan, and more information will be forthcoming. The MDA is preparing resources to help all members understand the implications of Delta's new plan and to communicate with patients who are covered by this plan. Watch your mail, read the MDA Journal and JADA, and be on the lookout for monthly MDA Journal eNews and email alerts. If you are not receiving the MDA Journal eNews, the MDA may not have your current email address. To update your email address, click here.